Dan Fogelberg 1951-2007

“The Leader of the Band” – Dan Fogelberg

For as long as I can remember, this song has always moved me– the sentiments he used to describe his father matched the sentiments I felt toward my dad as well:

An only child
Alone and wild
A cabinet makers son
His hands were meant
For different work
And his heart was known
To none —
He left his home
And went his lone
And solitary way
And he gave to me
A gift I know I never
Can repay

A quiet man of music
Denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once
But his music wouldn’t wait
He earned his love
Through discipline
A thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls
Took me years to understand.

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument
And his song is in my soul —
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band.

My brothers lives were
Different
For they heard another call
One went to Chicago
And the other to St. Paul
And I’m in Colorado
When I’m not in some hotel
Living out this life I’ve chose
And come to know so well.

I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go —
I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And, Papa, I dont think I said
“I love you” near enough —

The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through
My instrument
And his song is in my soul —
My life has been a poor attempt
To imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy
To the leader of the band
I am the living legacy
To the leader of the band.

For a month or two after my dad died, I couldn’t listen to this song. It hurt too much. And then, one day I was riding a train and it started playing on my iPod. I couldn’t stop the tears. It’s a rare gift that moves people this way, and Dan Fogelberg had that gift. Dan, you will be SORELY missed. Rest in eternal peace and comfort. And if you see my dad up there, tell him his boy loves him still.

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